Monday, March 28, 2016

Always take the high road

Just when you may have thought this presidential race could not get much uglier, the wives of the Republican front-runners are now being attacked. It started when a nude picture of Trump's current wife was posted by a Cruz supporter. This picture was from a 2000 photo shoot for a British tabloid. Trump fired back threatening to "spill the beans" on Cruz' wife and posted an unflattering picture of her next to a picture of his wife (dressed).

Cruz denied knowing about the first picture stating his campaign had nothing to do with it. That could be true. Personally, I believe that campaign ads, regardless of who pays for it, should not be legal unless the candidate states that he or she supports the ad. This is a loophole that needs to be closed to prevent this kind of nastiness from occurring again.

However, while Trump was understandably angry about the nude picture of his wife being used in a campaign ad, his response does not reflect the kind of maturity and demeanor we should expect from our nation's leaders. This whole campaign so far has looked more like something one would see on a grade school playground than in a campaign for the highest office in our nation.

Trump should have taken the high road. Certainly, he could have expressed his anger at this campaign tactic taken by someone supporting Cruz. Anyone whose spouse is attacked in this manner should be outraged. Whether Cruz knew about the ad in advance or not, he did not look good when it was released. Most people thought it crossed the line. However, when Trump responded with a similar ad he lost whatever advantage he might have had in this issue. Maybe Cruz didn't know about the ad, but no one would doubt that Trump ordered his ad in retaliation. He came across as childish, vindictive, and hardly presidential material.

Unfortunately, I have seen the same type of scenario played out in churches. I knew a pastor who was frustrated by a family in his church who seemed to undermine everything he attempted. Finally, he responded by sending an e-mail to the wife and said some very unkind things about her and her family. That e-mail was soon circulated throughout the church, and the pastor was in trouble. I saw the e-mail and could not believe that a pastor would write such things to a parishioner. Even more, it amazed me that he would not know that such a letter would be circulated to other members of the church. Although he remained at the church for a little while after this event, it was not a positive thing for him and his family.

Ministry is tough. Regardless of what type of leadership position you are in, you will come under attack by someone. People will not like you personally, they will not like what you are trying to do, they will be jealous or envious, and they will find ways to attack you. Any time a leader responds in kind, it just pulls them down to the level of the attacker. By taking the high road you put yourself in a superior position. Those who know the circumstances will be impressed by you taking the high road. Those who do not know the circumstances will wonder why you became negative towards some people.

Never be the one who has to say you're sorry when a negative event runs its course. Yes, you can defend yourself. You can explain your position. You can even admit that the attacks make you angry, but you can do all these things from a positive perspective without responding in kind. Always take the high road. You'll find it's the best road to travel.

No comments: